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Division Policy 6.11

SUBJECT

Comparable Services and Benefits

EFFECTIVE DATE

July 9, 2003

REVIEW DATE

October 18, 2017

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

To ensure that, comparable services and benefits are explored prior to providing any vocational rehabilitation service (except those services listed in paragraph 361.53(b) of the federal regulations) to an eligible individual or to members of the individual's family.

AUTHORITY

34 CFR 361.53

OVERVIEW

Comparable services and benefits, according to CFR 361.53, means services and benefits that are provided or paid for, in whole or in part, by other Federal, State, or local public agencies by health insurance or by employee benefits. In addition, the comparable benefits and services must be available to the individual at the time needed to ensure the progress of the individual toward achieving the employment outcome in the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) and commensurate to the services that the individual would otherwise receive from the agency. Comparable benefits do not include awards and scholarships based on merit.

POLICY

Prior to providing vocational rehabilitation services to an eligible individual or his/her family, a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits must be made.

If comparable services and benefits exist under any other program and are available to the individual at the time needed to achieve the rehabilitation objectives in the IPE, those services and benefits must be utilized to meet, in whole or in part, the cost of VR services rendered.

If comparable services and benefits exist, but are not available at the time needed to satisfy the rehabilitation objectives in the IPE, DBS shall provide VR services until those comparable services and benefits become available.

The following services are exempt from a determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits:

  1. Assessment for determining eligibility and vocational rehabilitation needs;
  2. Counseling and guidance, including information and support services to assist an individual in exercising informed choice;
  3. Referral and other services to secure needed services from other agencies including other components of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act service system, if such services are not available through the vocational rehabilitation program;
  4. Job-related services, including job search and placement assistance, job retention services, follow-up services, and follow-along services; and
  5. Post-employment services consisting of items 1-4.

The requirement of utilizing comparable services and benefits does not apply if:

  1. The determination of the availability of comparable services and benefits under any other program would delay the provision of VR services to an individual who is determined to be at extreme medical risk, based on medical evidence provided by an appropriate, qualified medical professional;
  2. An immediate job placement would be lost due to a delay in the provision of comparable services and benefits; or
  3. Use of a comparable service or benefit would delay an individual's progress in achieving an employment outcome.

Signed October 18, 2017 by Robert L. Doyle, III, Director.